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EECS Seminar: On-chip Phenotypic Profiling

July 13, 2017 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

On-chip Phenotypic Profiling of Circulating Tumor Cells for Next-Generation
Diagnostic Technologies

Mahla Poudineh
Dept. of Pharmaceutical Science
University of Toronto

Cancer is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Early detection can significantly improve long-term survival in cancer patients. During cancer progression, tumors shed circulating tumor cells (CTCs) into the bloodstream. CTCs that originate from the same primary tumor can have heterogeneous phenotypes and, while some CTCs possess benign properties, others have high metastatic potential. Deconstructing the heterogeneity of CTCs is challenging and new methods are urgently needed to characterize and sort CTCs according to their detailed phenotypic profiles so that the properties of invasive versus noninvasive cells can be identified.

We present a powerful new capability for monitoring of cancer progression. We developed a novel fluidic chip that selectively isolates rare cancer cells that exhibit different levels of phenotypic surface markers. The device successfully profiles the surface expression of very small numbers of cells; and it accomplishes this directly from whole blood. We coupled the surface marker profiling approach with a migration platform with single cell resolution: this allows us to characterize more deeply, still on-chip, the biological behavior of invasive cancer cells. We prototyped the system and proved it out using samples of unprocessed blood from mice. We characterized the samples as a function of tumor growth and aggressiveness and proved that the new profiling technology provides powerful and relevant information that correlates with tumor stage and aggressiveness. The strategies presented offer to guide the development of sensitive and specific approaches for cancer diagnosis that provide new information not available using prior methods.

BIO: Mahla Poudineh completed a PhD degree in Electrical Engineering (with Biomedical focus) at the University of Toronto, where her research focus was on developing new diagnostic technologies for early cancer detection. Mahla’s research has made it possible to distinguish cancer cells that have high versus low metastatic potential. She is now pursuing a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Pharmaceutical Science at the University of Toronto.


July 13, 2017
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Event Category:


Ebrahim Ghafar-Zadeh


3033 Lassonde Building
York University
North York, Ontario M3J Canada
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